when do humming birds fly south

A: Hummingbirds do not actually migrate on the backs of geese. It’s difficult to comprehend how and why a myth like this came to be in the first place. Not only do hunters of waterfowl not discover dead hummingbirds in the feathers of their prey, but it’s also simple to witness hummingbirds flying independently during their migration. Although hummingbirds would undoubtedly profit from such a setup, it is just not feasible. The migration patterns of geese and hummingbirds differ; a hummingbird that hitches a ride on a geese that doesn’t starve would have a long journey to go from the goose’s winter wetland home to its own safe haven in the tropics. The real story is amazing enough. Despite their small size, hummingbirds travel entirely on their own initiative. They do this by using internal maps and calendars, as well as stored fat and any food they happen to come across.

A: No, it’s not true that you have to remove your hummingbird feeders at the end of the summer in order for the birds to migrate. A healthy migrating bird’s strong migratory instinct will prevent it from heading south, even in captivity. If they hadn’t discovered feeders, the few hummingbirds that attempt to migrate to colder climates for the winter would have most likely perished sooner. Maintaining a feeder could potentially provide a marginalized bird with an additional opportunity to migrate south. You can take down your feeder a week after you last see a hummingbird in most of the country. Hummingbirds may spend the whole year in your yard if you live in the Southwest or along the Pacific or Gulf coasts.

The extent of hummingbird migration varies between species and even within populations. Tropical hummingbirds travel very little because there aren’t many cold climates or food shortages to worry about. Certain species have an appropriate year-round home due to the mild winters further north along the Pacific Coast and portions of the Mexican border. However, the majority of hummingbirds found in the northern hemisphere migrate extensively, spending the summer and winter in quite distinct locations. The Rufous Hummingbird is the top migrant; some individuals have to fly at least 2700 miles in one direction to get from the northernmost point of their nesting range in Alaska to the northernmost point of their wintering range in Mexico. This migration is among the longest in relation to the size of any creature, measuring 49 million body lengths.

How do Ruby-throated Hummingbirds Migrate?

Ruby-throats do not travel in flocks during hummingbird migration. Rather, every bird listens to its own instincts regarding the best times and routes to depart.

Scientists think that environmental cues cause each hummingbird to start migrating. One trigger is the changing level and angle of sunlight. A decrease in the quantity of naturally occurring food is thought to be another trigger. While these signals persist, the hummingbird gets ready and eventually takes off.

By February, the majority of them have traveled north and arrived at Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. They start to gorge on insects in this verdant jungle as they get ready for one of the hardest bird migrations ever. Thousands of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds travel the longer shoreline route each year, but instead they soar over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. These daring tiny birds will travel up to 500 miles nonstop in order to reach the U S. shores. It takes about 18 to 22 hours to finish this incredible solo flight.

Unfortunately, as many fishing boat crews and oil riggers can attest, some hummingbirds aren’t strong enough. Annually, weary Ruby-throated Hummingbirds seek temporary safety on boats and offshore oil rigs adrift in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. These birds take a short break before daringly taking off again to fly across the open water.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will take the same audacious migration route back south, but in reverse. They’ll charge up their energy reserves in the southern U. S. and then zip across the gulf toward their winter home. Ruby-throats make two lengthy, nonstop trips like that every year; you have to respect their perseverance!

Hummingbirds that Migrate into the US and Canada:

Since it doesn’t actually migrate, the stunning Anna’s Hummingbird, which is common on the West Coast, is a unique example. Some individual Annas may relocate temporarily to a region with a better climate, but others will remain in the same location all year long. Consequently, Anna’s Hummingbirds are regarded as permanent residents of the United S. and Canada.

Most Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate from southern Mexico to northern Panama during the winter. Due to their solitary nature, Ruby-throats will move to any area within this range.

Their winters aren’t all sun and fun though. Actually, the majority of their time is spent getting ready to head back north.

  • November: Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will start to molt after finishing their fall migration.
  • December: Hummingbirds spend their time gorged on the nectar and insects they can find, as molting wears them down. (Of course, some birds will stay in the U. S. through the winter, weathering chilly temperatures along the Gulf Coast. Some Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will spend the winter even further north, spending the entire year on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
  • January: January may be the slowest month for ruby-throats, but this is only a relative observation. These birds concentrate on feeding as their last feathers grow in, and they accomplish this by visiting dozens of plants every day. Recall that a hummingbird requires a lot of nectar to maintain its wing-flapping behavior!
  • February: At this point, the instincts of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird are beginning to take hold. The bird’s instincts tell it to gain weight and head north. They know that breeding season is coming soon. The bulk of the migration north from Mexico and Central America leaves in March, with the earliest departures starting in late February.


Do hummingbirds come back to the same place every year?

Hummingbirds Will Often Return to the Same Location Year After Year. This is such an amazing and fascinating fact. It doesn’t seem like it can be true, but it definitely is. Banding research has shown hummingbirds showing up in the same location and even on the same day from one year to the next.

What month do hummingbirds stop coming to feeders?

Certain species, such as the Rufous hummingbirds, are heartier and can endure colder temperatures than the Ruby-throated hummingbirds so they may show up later in the season— into October or even November. It it doesn’t hurt to leave your feed up even through November.

What month do you see the most hummingbirds?

August brings lots of activity, when we have 10-20 Ruby-throated hummingbirds at a time, with peak numbers in early September when we typically spot as many as 25-40 hummingbirds at a time as part of the fall migration. Most are Ruby Throats, with an occasional Rufous in the mix at the feeders.